Rain abates for now but more likely; all eyes on Kerala dams, rivers

Water to be released from Idukki, Idamalayar dams; flooding in downstream Pampa

Published: 19th October 2021 06:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th October 2021 06:18 AM   |  A+A-

Amid fears of an increase in water level in Upper Kuttanad following the opening of the Kakki dam shutters, Poovam resident Satheesh shifts utensils from his house to a safer place | Arun Angela

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Rain abated on Monday, but the state remained on edge. With dams receiving steady inflow and the Met Department forecasting more heavy rain from Wednesday, the focus has shifted to dam management, particularly in view of the 2018 deluge.

A high alert has been issued in the coastal districts as water will be released from Idukki and Idamalayar reservoirs on Tuesday. The downstream areas of Chalakudy and Pampa rivers are already witnessing flood situation following release of water from Sholayar and Kakki dams. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, meanwhile, directed an expert committee to monitor the water level and make necessary preparations.

With water level in Idukki reservoir reaching 2,397.52 feet at 6pm (93.60% of its capacity) on Monday, the government issued an order to release water from 11am on Tuesday. Two spillway gates of Idamalayar dam too will be opened to a height of 80cm at 6am on Tuesday.

Adding to the people’s concern, heavy rain has been forecast  from Wednesday to Friday across the state. The Kerala State Electricity Board does not want to repeat the situation in 2018 when shutters of all major dams were opened together, though it has not admitted to that mistake yet. 

Yellow alert has been sounded in all districts except Alappuzha, Kannur and Kasaragod for Wednesday. While all districts except Kannur and Kasaragod have been put on yellow alert on Thursday, all districts except Kasaragod will be on yellow alert on Friday.

Two shutters of Kakki dam in Pathananmthitta were raised on Tuesday. By evening, the water level in Pampa river rose and a red alert was issued for people living on its banks. Owing to the precarious situation in low-lying areas of Kuttanad following the raising of Kakki dam shutters, 

a high-level meeting was held in Alappuzha district to assess preparedness. A National Disaster Response Force team has already been sent to Alappuzha. 

Raising of dam shutters: CM insists on giving people enough time

Chairing a high-level meeting, the chief minister directed the expert committee to inform the district collectors beforehand about opening of dam shutters so that there is adequate time to evacuate people living downstream. As many as 247 relief camps have been opened across the state. The authorities have been directed to make all arrangements for 9,422 people from 2,619 families shifted there.

As part of flood relief preparations, a total of 3,071 buildings have been converted into relief camps that can house over 4.23 lakh people. The chief minister asked district collectors to prepare a detailed estimate on the loss of life, property and crops. Disbursal of relief should be hastened, he directed.

Sabarimala visit not allowed
Sabarimala pilgrimage during the Thulam month pooja has been called off owing to the rain fury. The Nilakkal and Perunthenaruvi areas near Sabarimala had received up to 20cm of rain on Sunday alone and shutters of Kakki dam nearby were raised. In the wake of rising water levels in rivers and possibility of landslides and forecast of heavy rain from Wednesday, a high-level meeting on Monday decided that it would be ideal not to allow pilgrimage. The Pathanamthitta district administration has been directed to ensure the safe return of pilgrims who have already reached Nilakkal base camp.

College reopening postponed
The reopening of colleges for classes other than for final-year students has been postponed till October 25. Regular offline classes for final-year degree and PG students had begun on October 4. The Kerala Public Service Commission has postponed its exams for posts requiring graduation as qualification scheduled for October 21 and 23. However, there is no change in the date of exams scheduled for
October 30. The new dates will be announced later. APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU) has postponed the second-semester examinations scheduled for October 20 and 22. The new dates will be announced later.

37 deaths so far

No Sabarimala visit for poojas
Sabarimala pilgrimage for Thulam month poojas has been called off owing to the rain fury. The Pathanamthitta district adminis-tration has been directed to ensure the safe return of pilgrims who have already reached Nilakkal base camp.

College reopening, exams postponed
Reopening of colleges for classes other than for final-year students postponed till October 25. PSC postpones exams scheduled for October 21 and 23. 


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